What Are Top Secret Unmanned Mini Space Shuttles Doing Up In Space? (VIDEO)

What Are Top Secret Unmanned Mini Space Shuttles Doing Up In Space? (VIDEO) | Space-Plane-1024x768 | Multimedia Science & Technology Sleuth Journal Special Interests

By: The Voice or Reason |

How many Americans know we have at least two unmanned space shuttles, perhaps as many as three, that stay in orbit up to two years or perhaps longer?

With technology advancing as fast as it is, and as dependent on our infrastructure in space as the U.S. has become, it’s not unreasonable to think we’ll continue to hear whispers about technology like the X-37B every now and again. I’ve been following the missions of the X-37B to the extent anyone can for the last few years as the links at the bottom indicate, and I think it’s entirely likely that the time will come soon enough (if it isn’t here already) when the federal government forms either an entirely new agency altogether tasked with space defense, or perhaps creates a new division within DHS or the military solely responsible for the defense of U.S. space assets. Think of it almost as a new covert C.I.A., but where agents wear space suits and perform secret spy missions miles above Earth’s surface. After all, it wasn’t that long ago I did a post titled, Space Terrorism – A New Threat For A New Era.

In some of my earlier posts on the X-37B, I have suggested that perhaps the time is already upon us when the U.S. is so exposed in space, that we simply MUST have at least one spacecraft, or perhaps several spacecraft of some type in orbit at all times to act as a DEFENSE MECHANISM for our investments in space. Think about our national defense, missile and rocket guidance systems, GPS, our weather, television, communication systems, and so on. All that technology we depend on is up in space and virtually defenseless. Not long ago I did a post about how an EMP blast, either one from our own sun naturally, or one set off by an enemy of the State has the potential to kill nine out of every ten Americans it could be so catastrophic. The first video below gives some very basic background information about the shuttle(s).

The story below by Activist Post suggests the public is being told the top secret X-37B mini-shuttle is doing “experiments” of some kind in space, however at least one expert noted there was “no compelling reason” why experiments should be carried aboard a top-secret craft, which makes sense when you consider cost. We haven’t even gotten our manned space program back online yet, so whatever the X-37B is doing up for over a year at a time, it has to justify the cost of it being there. Also, its worth noting that there’s more than just one mini-shuttle.

I personally know of at least TWO separate shuttles since I’ve been following the story the last few years, so in all likelihood that suggests to me there are probably closer to three or four shuttles in total, but that is pure speculation on my part. Unless you pay attention to the VERY limited number of space flights or launches that occur in our currently declining space program, most people would have no idea about the shuttles. I tend to pay attention, and so far far all I know for sure is that the shuttles “belong” to the U.S. Air Force, they are “unmanned mini-shuttles,” and they certainly appear to be an integral part of our space program based on the fact they spend in excess of a year in orbit each mission.

One of the main reasons I suggest the top secret mini-shuttle(s) are part of a defense program, is based on media reports that have surfaced from around the world. Right now, we are living during a time when our military is getting stretched rather thin because of massive cuts, and at the same time Pentagon officials estimated several years ago that at China’s current rate of military growth, their technology would surpass the United States any time now.

I even remember hearing years ago about how China had successfully tested a new missile for the sole purpose of shooting satellites out of space. I don’t recall exactly when that was, but it was a WHILE ago for sure, and think of how quickly technology advances. To this day, the debris from the explosion during that test has to be carefully monitored around the clock because it travels around the Earth at close to 17,000mph… which is fast enough to pulverize the space station or any man that crosses the debris field’s path.

Since the Chinese satellite killing missile launch several years ago, we also have reports that the Chinese are CURRENTLY testing new space weapons right now, and they’re not alone. We also have reports that Russia tested a new technology back in 2014 dubbed a “satellite catcher” for outer space, presumably to snatch satellites out of orbit, either their own for repair, or perhaps with a more offensive minded idea instead.

The second video below goes into a bit more detail about the increasing scope and capacity of the shuttles over their first few missions, further implying they have a much more grand purpose than we are being told at this time. It’s probably safe to say, that If the shuttles are conducting “experiments” of some kind as reported, they aren’t growing algae if you catch my drift. There definitely seems to be a more aggressive posture the aircraft are working toward for the long term.

After the video and the article below from Activist Post, is another article I came across by a former U.S. Air Force space and missile operations officer, and the article tends to support my theory that the shuttles are part of a “NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAM” if you will, where they are tasked with providing a deterrent (at the very least) for the time being to anyone who would attack our assets in space.

Amando Flavio at Activist Post writes:

On May 20th 2015, a special unmanned space plane of the United States Air Force, Boeing X-37B, was deployed to space by the American government.

The Mirror reports that the reusable unmanned spacecraft blasted into orbit from Cape Canaveral in the state of Florida, carrying a brand new type of ion engine called a “Hall thruster,” and a NASA experiment designed to test how 100 types of materials respond to the harsh conditions of space. At a first glance, the vehicle looks just like a mini Space Shuttle, yet it isn’t.  X-37B is too small to carry people on-board, but does have a cargo bay similar to that of a pickup truck, which is just large enough to carry a small satellite.

At the time the plane took off, some scientists expressed grave concern. A senior scientist at the Global Security Program, and also a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Laura Grego reportedly told Space.com that there was “no compelling reason” why experiments should be carried aboard a top-secret craft.

Currently, it is believed the unmanned plane has spent the past year orbiting around Earth. The American government has, however, failed to give any tangible reason behind the deployment of X-37B to space, except saying it is for an experiment. As to the actual nature of the experiment, that still remains a mystery.

However, due to the secret nature about the actual mission of the space vehicle, on its 1st anniversary in space (May 20th, 2016), many observers have resorted to speculations and assumptions about the true purpose of the plane orbiting around the Earth.

What Are Top Secret Unmanned Mini Space Shuttles Doing Up In Space? (VIDEO) | Space-Plane-2 | Multimedia Science & Technology Sleuth Journal Special Interests

In the Russian media, for example, we gathered that several articles have been published, suggesting it is part of a space warfare mission designed to allow the United States to destroy other satellites in space.

Even in America, some critical online news media outlets have said the X-37B is part of a top-secret government program to develop reusable, unmanned spacecraft technologies and conduct covert experiments.

The American online news reports added that the United States Air Force has already successfully completed three X-37B missions, starting with the first launch in April 2010; it is said the three missions and two X-37B craft have proved reusable flight, re-entry, and landing technologies. Judging from this background, many observers asked that if the previous missions have proved successful, why was another X-37B launched again in 2015?

However, according to an American renowned astronomer at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Jonathan McDowell, the mystery of the X-37B may not lie so much in the structure of the vehicle, but rather, in what it is carrying. He revealed that the vehicle is perfect for carrying sensitive cargo into space for testing.

Mr McDowell also posited that the American government is conducting some covert experiments in space, and will try as much possible to keep it secret, adding that even engineers working on the plane cannot tell its mission in space.

PC World quoted Mr McDowell as saying

They are filling the payload bay with various experiments. Probably different experiments each flight, probably for different customers. The sorts of things that you would want with something like this … you develop new technology sensors like new cameras, new listening devices, intelligence [gathering] radio antennas, and maybe a new type of antenna dish that unfolds in a new way. And you want to exercise it in space multiple times and then bring it back to earth.

The big question now for many observers is how long this mysterious mission is going to last. It is said the duration of the past three missions has progressively increased, from 240 days, to 469 days, and finally 674 days. Therefore, many observers believe that this current mission might last for 720 days, or more.

What Are Top Secret Unmanned Mini Space Shuttles Doing Up In Space? (VIDEO) | Space-Plane-4 | Multimedia Science & Technology Sleuth Journal Special Interests


The U.S. national security space community is implementing its 2011 strategy for protecting space capabilities as a result of the perceived increase in threat posed by the development of counterspace capabilities among potential adversaries.

The strategy includes multiple elements for developing international norms of behavior, enhancing commercial and allied cooperation, increasing resilience and deterring and defeating attacks.

New evidence suggests that the implementation effort may be focusing primarily on deterring and defeating attacks, and may include the development of “active defenses” and new offensive counterspace systems.

While there may be a valid role for these capabilities, much depends on the details of how they are pursued, and how they will support other elements of the strategy.

Plus, there’s the larger question of whether a more aggressive approach is in the best interest of all of America’s space organizations, including the burgeoning commercial space sector.

We live in an age of proliferating anti-satellite capabilities. There is a growing body of evidence that China is actively developing at least two hit-to-kill ASAT weapon systems. The development process has included at least five tests of these systems, including one that created thousands of pieces of space debris.

Russia has fielded operational ASAT capabilities in the past, and Russian officials have recently stated that development work has started again on an air-based ASAT system. Not to be outdone, elements of the Indian government have also signaled interest in developing both missile defense and ASAT capabilities themselves.

The United States and many of its allies in Europe and Asia are fielding missile defense capabilities that have significant ASAT capabilities, as demonstrated by the United States’ use of the same missile defense system to destroy a non-functioning satellite in 2008.

The number of other countries that already possess ballistic missile and space launch technology—and could thus develop their own crude ASAT capabilities—is growing.

The U.S. national security space community sees this shift towards a more “contested” space environment as a very worrisome trend. There are currently more than 150 U.S. military and intelligence satellites in orbit, providing important national security capabilities such as precision navigation and timing, global communications, missile warning, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

The proliferation of ASAT capabilities and the threat they are thought to pose to these space systems presents a serious challenge to the United States’ military and intelligence capabilities. The concern extends not only to the ability of the United States to defend its own national security interests, but also to its ability to continue to contribute to the defense of its allies.

The United States announced a new National Security Space Strategy in early 2011 that detailed five strategic approaches for dealing with a more “congested, competitive and contested space environment.”

The strategy includes a strong push for developing and promoting responsible norms of behavior in space, increased partnership and cooperation with allies and commercial firms and a shift toward making U.S. national security space capabilities more resilient to attacks.

The strategy also includes preventing and deterring aggression on U.S. national security space systems, and, should deterrence fail, defeating attacks on said systems. Since the release of the strategy, the U.S. government has been relatively public about how it will implement the first three approaches, but less so about the last two.

That has now changed. Congress has included language in the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2015 fiscal year, the primary piece of legislation that authorizes and directs the activities of the U.S. military, calling on the U.S. national security space community to report to Congress how it plans to deter and defeat adversary attacks on U.S. space systems.

The NDAA language requires the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to produce a study on the role of offensive space operations, and specifies that the majority of the $32.3 million that Congress gave to the Space Security and Defense Program in 2015 must be used for “the development of offensive space control and active defensive strategies and capabilities.”

The NDAA language does not stipulate what is meant by offensive or active defensive capabilities, but when combined with recent academic writings from within the U.S. military, it suggests that America’s strategy for protecting its satellites is taking a more aggressive turn.

This essay discusses the evolution of U.S. national security space community’s approach to using space and protecting space assets over the last several decades, and explains why some in the community are now contemplating a more aggressive approach.

It frames the discussion through four established schools of thought on the military uses of space: sanctuary, space control, high ground and survivability.

These schools were first developed as potential space power doctrines by David Lupton in an article for Strategic Review in 1983, and more fully fleshed out in his 1988 book On Space Warfare: A Space Power Doctrine.

They were re-conceptualized as schools of thought, rather than doctrine, by Peter Hays in his 1994 doctoral dissertation. In Hays’ view, the four schools of thought are less codified and have more overlap between them than a strict doctrinal definition.

U.S. policy on national security space is a conglomeration of the four schools of thought, with one school of thought usually prioritized over the others. This conglomeration is a result of the interagency process for creating policy on national security issues, and the bargaining that takes place between the different agencies involved in the decision.

The U.S. government is not a unitary actor, and the perspective of each of the many agencies within the interagency decision-making process usually reflects a preference for one of these schools over the other. As a result, decisions made by the U.S. government on national security space policy often reflect a compromise between multiple schools of thought, rather than a strict adherence to one over all the others.

Why choose to contextualize this issue from the perspective of the military when space activities encompass much more than just the military? The reason is that in the realm of policy, and space policy in particular, national security has dominated decision making since the very beginning of the Space Age, and still holds a privileged position in space policy debates.

This dominance is seen in the size of the U.S. national security space budget—nearly $27.5 billion compared to NASA’s $17.8 billion in 2012—but also in the use of the National Security Council process to make many space policy decisions.

Finally, it is important to understand why the focus of this essay is on the policies and activities of the United States and not on the other countries involved. The intent is not to place blame for the current strategic instability in space solely on the United States.

The situation is the result of the actions of several different countries, as well as the overarching geopolitical dynamics present in the world today. As a result of America’s democratic and pluralistic nature, its policies and actions are subject to more scrutiny and debate than others.

That should be seen as a virtue and not a defect. The United States is still the world leader in space, in terms of both soft and hard power. The intent of this essay is to encourage constructive debate on this important issue in the hope that it leads to policies and actions that continue to enable the United States to be a force for good and a world leader for the foreseeable future.

What Are Top Secret Unmanned Mini Space Shuttles Doing Up In Space? (VIDEO) | 11 | Multimedia Science & Technology Sleuth Journal Special Interests
NASA’s 1960s concept for an X-20 space bomber. At top—the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane. Air Force photo

Space sanctuary

The first school of thought on military uses of space, and the one that has dominated the U.S. national security space community’s approach since the dawn of the Space Age, is that of space as a sanctuary.

The sanctuary school places utmost importance on the value of space systems for providing strategic information to decision makers—primarily through the collection of reconnaissance and intelligence data.

The demand for more information about military developments in the Soviet Union and the challenges in collecting intelligence from airborne platforms prompted the Eisenhower Administration to undertake classified efforts in the 1950s to develop reconnaissance satellites to collect intelligence on Soviet activities.

The Eisenhower Administration’s original push to develop an international regime where satellite overflight and reconnaissance were a legitimate part of the peaceful uses of space was continued by his successors, and culminated in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

Article I of the Outer Space Treaty states that the use and exploration of outer space shall be the province of all mankind, while Article III requires that States conduct such use and exploration in the interest of maintaining international peace and security.

These provisions form the core principles of space law, and are held by many legal scholars to have passed into the realm of customary international law, which would therefore make them widely binding.

Since the ratification of the treaty, most states have come to define peaceful uses of outer space as non-aggressive, which allows for the use of satellites for reconnaissance, surveillance, communication and a number of other national security capabilities.

As the Cold War progressed, additional space capabilities were developed to verify key elements of arms control agreements between the United States and the Soviet Union. These national technical means of verification, or NTM, helped to stabilize the relationship between the two superpowers.

This stability was further enhanced by the development of space-based early warning and launch detection systems, which could warn either side of an impending nuclear attack by ballistic missiles.

To help protect this stability and ensure the viability of both NTM and early warning, followers of the sanctuary school within the U.S. national security space community argued strongly that space should be kept free of offensive weapons or other military uses that could incentivize the other side to create and possibly use ASAT weapons.

The importance of NTM to top-level decision-makers on both sides and the threat of nuclear war helped that argument hold sway.

What Are Top Secret Unmanned Mini Space Shuttles Doing Up In Space? (VIDEO) | 21 | Multimedia Science & Technology Sleuth Journal Special Interests
A U.S. Air Force F-15 tests an ASM-135 anti-satellite weapon in 1985. Air Force photos

Space control

In the 1970s, a second major school of thought, space control, began to gain prominence. In emphasizing the use of space for not only strategic reconnaissance and intelligence, but also for enhancing U.S. military forces on Earth, the space control school borrows heavily from air- and sea-power doctrines.

Followers of the space control school advocate that the U.S. must have superiority in space over its potential adversaries, just as it does in air, land, and sea domains. The end result of the increased influence of the space control school was major investment in satellite programs such as the Global Positioning System and the Defense Satellite Communication System.

To protect these force enhancement capabilities, the space control school advocates for assured access to space, including detecting and defending against attacks on friendly space systems. The space control school also emphasizes the need to develop counterspace capabilities such as ASATs to deter attacks on friendly space capabilities in peacetime and deny adversary access to space capabilities during conflict.

While the intelligence community has historically continued to embrace the sanctuary school, the U.S. military has shifted its focus over the last few decades to the space control school as its central approach to the space domain.

It has continued to invest heavily in space-based force enhancement capabilities and on integrating these capabilities with the warfighters in air, on land, and at sea to the point where space has become a critical part of U.S. military power.

In keeping with the space control school of thought, current U.S. military doctrine on space emphasizes the importance of space superiority through improving space situational awareness to better understand the space environment and potential threats, developing defensive space control capabilities to better protect space capabilities against attacks and developing offensive space control capabilities to deny adversaries the ability to use space against the United States and its allies.

The types of OSC capabilities pursued by the United States have shifted over the decades as a result of both the perceived threat and political pressure. Development and testing of a nuclear-tipped, air-launched ballistic missile ASAT system named Bold Orion and another named High Virgo began in 1958.

The first operational ASAT system was a nuclear-tipped, ground-based ballistic missile named Program 505 fielded in the early 1960s and replaced by Program 437 in 1964.

In the late 1970s, the Ford Administration conducted a study that concluded there was a need to develop a limited non-nuclear U.S. ASAT capability to counter Soviet low-Earth orbit satellites the Soviets used to target U.S. carrier battle groups.

Pres. Jimmy Carter gave the program the go-ahead, which became a conventional air-launched ASAT system called the ASM-135. The development program included a series of tests, one of which destroyed the U.S. Solwind satellite in 1985.

The ASM-135 program was cancelled in 1988 and since then, the United States has not had an officially recognized kinetic kill ASAT program. Instead, the United States has pursued development of so-called “temporary and reversible means” such as radiofrequency jamming and cyber warfare, that can degrade or disable adversary space systems without outright destroying the satellite.

The most well-known publicly of these is the Air Force’s Counter Communications System.

What Are Top Secret Unmanned Mini Space Shuttles Doing Up In Space? (VIDEO) | 3-1024x682-1024x682 | Multimedia Science & Technology Sleuth Journal Special Interests
A U.S. Air Force rocket launch. Air Force photo

High ground

Throughout the Cold War, the third main school of thought—high ground—existed with varying levels of prominence. The high ground school emphasizes the use of space for projecting force to and dominating in engagements on Earth.


THE VOICE OF REASON is the pen name of Michael DePinto, a graduate of Capital University Law School, and an attorney in Florida. Having worked in the World Trade Center, along with other family and friends, Michael was baptized by fire into the world of politics on September 11, 2001. Michael’s political journey began with tuning in religiously to whatever the talking heads on television had to say, then Michael became a “Tea-Bagging” activist as his liberal friends on the Left would say, volunteering within the Jacksonville local Tea Party, and most recently Michael was sworn in as an attorney. Today, Michael is a major contributor to www.BeforeItsNews.com, he owns and operates www.thelastgreatstand.com, where Michael provides what is often very ‘colorful’ political commentary, ripe with sarcasm, no doubt the result of Michael’s frustration as he feels we are witnessing the end of the American Empire. The topics Michael most often weighs in on are: Martial Law, FEMA Camps, Jade Helm, Economic Issues, Government Corruption, and Government Conspiracy.

[mailpoet_form id="1"]

About The Author

Related posts